A new drugstore is scheduled to open Friday on Broadway.

Named after its founder, the store is part of a chain that first sold drugs in 1901 in Chicago. The store is one of nearly 10,000 owned by the largest drugstore chain in the United States.

But while the business that Charles Walgreen began more than a century ago has become a retail giant, the local version has been tailored for Jackson.

“I guess we’re sort of like a mom-and-pop store, in the sense that we cater to the community,” store manager Duane Alston said.

Alston made the comparison moments after agreeing to sell firewood from Wyoming Firewood, a Jackson business.

The store carries soda from Grand Teton Brewing Company, lemonade from Dust Cutter and sports paraphernalia emblazoned with the logo of the Jackson Hole Broncs.

A sculpture by Jackson’s Ben Roth greets pedestrians ascending the store’s staircase from the future Broadway pathway.

With a tentative opening set for 8 a.m. on Friday and a grand opening planned for Feb. 2, the 8,100-square-foot store is smaller and more extravagant than most stores in the chain, Alston said.

The landscaping alone cost $300,000, he said.

The store features an unusually fancy pharmacy, Alston said, “what we call a wellness store.”

The design is elaborate, featuring a consultation room, a waiting room and more.

“This makes the pharmacy a lot more accessible for patients,” said Ryan Peterson, one of the store’s pharmacists.

That’s also uncommon, Alston said.

“Most of the other stores don’t have this,” he said. “This is altogether different.”

The store is also notable for the speed with which the chain’s executives broke ground and opened it, Alston said.

“When the city approved it, it went straight to [the chain’s executive] committee to get approved,” he said. “I can show you stores that we’ve been sitting on for years we haven’t done anything with.”

The chain purchased the land in February and broke ground in July.

The project includes an adjacent apartment building to house up to five employees, who will have a nice view of Snow King.

Three pharmacists staff the drug side of the operation.

Two of them graduated in May — one from the University of Wyoming — and the pharmacy manager is a three-year veteran from one of the chain’s other locations.

“I’m a huge winter sports guy — when I found out there was a store opening in Jackson, that was my first choice,” Peterson said.

One of his two colleagues agreed.

“It’s pretty awesome right out of school to get your dream job,” pharmacist Bryan Wessman said. “Usually you have to work up through the ranks to get where you want to be.”

The store’s opening Friday morning may be pushed back if suppliers can’t provide a few final products, Alston said.

But he’s looking forward to opening the store, Alston said, and hopeful it won’t be put off.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “If it was up to me — and they’ve had some complications with the building and stuff — I was hoping to have this open by Christmas, but it didn’t turn out that way.”

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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(1) comment

Roy Garton

Glad to see the valley finally open up to stores like Walgreens. While we find them about every 10 blocks around here, they do a lot to "localize" their mix within the community like the article describes. I know the locals there get moody every time a chain comes into the area and they cry "Another example of losing our western local flavor" but the area is growing and locals do need a break in prices and these stores create some competition. I think most will find Walgreens a welcome addition. I remember when it was Jackson Drug and Lumley's Drug at one time then came Lenz Drug Center taking over before Stone Drug was built out on West Broadway. Then came the Safeway and later Albertson Pharmacy and the locals got upset over those additions. Ahh the good ol days.[smile]

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